The P Trap – What’s Its Purpose?

P trap

For some of us, we don’t even know what a P trap is. And no, it is not spelled Pee Trap, as some might mistake since it’s in your bathroom. The P trap is the pipe under your bathroom and kitchen sink. At first glance, it appears to be in the shape of a U, but this pipe has a straight section in it. If you turn your head sideways, you’ll see that it’s clearly a P and not a U.

The P Trap Prevents Sewer Gases

The P trap pipe has a couple of purposes. First, it prevents larger objects from getting trapped deeper down in the drain. Most of us have heard stories of a ring or a small valuable going down the drain only to remove the pipe and find them in the P trap. The P trap is just that, “a trap” that will protect your primary drain from clogging. By design, it prevents sewer gases from rising through your drain as well. The P trap works like a plug. Water will always remain in the curved part of the pipe resisting the gases from coming drifting back into the house. If not for your P traps, your home could have a putrid odor.

Simple To Repair And Inexpensive

Like any other pipes in your home, age and usage can cause your P traps to leak. It’s always recommended to check under your sinks for leaks at least once a month. In most cases, these leaks are small drops that go down the pipe and on the surface of the cabinet. Unchecked, it can cause damage to your cabinet. When checking for a leak coming from your P trap, look for white water stains on the side of the pipe and around connectors. Fortunately, these pipes are simple to repair and inexpensive.

The average “do-it-yourselfer can find a video online that will walk you through the process. If you choose to call your plumbing contractor, the cost is usually slightly more than a service call, and they keep them well stocked. Like all appliances and fixtures in our home, you have choices. P traps can be purchased in PVC or steel. Because steel is more attractive, they’re commonly seen on exposed sinks. Big B’s license #986152


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